why yes there is a small, lavender-filled sloth in my sweater, thank you for asking.


So…that’s where we landed with the sign.

The first ever National Period Day was last Saturday and as promised, I made my way over to city hall to add my voice to the crowd. For my first rally, it far exceeded my expectations. I think I had expected at least some small negative element to come along with attending a rally because of the nature of the event. Something along the lines of people making fun of our cause, bad weather, general confusion/disorder…a riot…I don’t know.

Nope. It was a beautiful fall day, everything was well organized, and I could tell by the faces in the crowd as I watched from behind the numerous featured speakers that people were listening and learning. I’d have to say that was my favorite part, watching women (and men!!) nod their heads with furrowed brows as they absorbed the stories and harsh facts being shared. Unfortunately, as I was on the top step, I couldn’t hear about 70% of what was being said…but the bits I could hear were powerful. I reached out to PERIOD’s NYC chapter to get a list of names which they kindly (and quickly) passed along, so I’m hoping I attribute the right moments to the right people.

Back to the sign. I was nervous about the sign I made, I must admit. It wasn’t exactly the “end the tampon tax!”-type signage I saw in many different, creative forms last week. I mean, let’s call it what it is. My personal experience, plus a meme. Also, the ONLY meme sign I saw. The majority of the protesters were college students – how is that possible that my elderly 25-year old self had the only meme poster?

I figured that I would be surrounded by people whose knowledge about period poverty, the tampon tax, and menstrual inequality far surpasses mine. What I hoped to do (and I think succeeded in doing) was branch off of the idea that we need to stop thinking about health and women’s/menstrual health as two separate things. I believe it was Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation who dropped the quote that 71% of girls in India don’t know what a period is when they first get it. That’s a huge health education issue, and the lack of conversation where we need it is the same issue that keeps people un-diagnosed and untreated. Especially when the issue involves body parts or functions that no one seems to want to talk about. There’s an overarching theme of needless suffering, confusion, and embarrassment, and that’s where I feel the direct connection between why I write, and why we were all there to fight.

Magically enough…the events of Saturday the 19th sort of set the tone for the following week.

To keep the complaining minimal, I have to say it was a challenging week. I was lucky enough to have the worst pain hit when I was at home, and was able to manage at work with a million bathroom breaks, tons of water, and my sloth hot-pack tucked inside my sweater. Wednesday night was some of the worst pain I’ve had in a good while, which I file under “interesting” rather than “the end is near” because I’m still very happy with the long streak of good fortune that I’d been riding since around April/May.

Wednesday night brought the familiar feeling that something is swollen and pressing up against things under my left ribs, as well as soreness to the touch. I’ve never broken a rib (that I know of) but I have a feeling that the pain of a few bruised or broken ribs can’t be a far cry from what was going on that night. My ribs do click about (“click about?” okay) sometimes, depending on the position I’m sitting or laying in, but I chalk that up to my floating ribs just doing their thing. Flashback to that massage therapist telling me that the left side of my back is raised in a way that my right side isn’t. The mysteries, they just keep coming and they don’t stop coming.

It was also strange that I couldn’t get any relief whatsoever from a positional change. My choices seemed to be fetal position: pain level 10/10 – anything else: pain level 12/10. I went so far as to take Tylenol *gasp* to get myself comfortable enough to go to sleep. I never take Tylenol. Not for any particular reason other than feeling like I’m not really addressing the issue. But if you don’t know what the issue is…what are ya gonna do? You’re going to be friends with Tylenol, I guess.

Today is Sunday and I’m feeling pretty decent. Which is odd, considering I was the worst yesterday and ate nothing but high fat and dairy-filled foods (an avo/egg/cheese breakfast sandwich, cream of mushroom soup, a quesadilla, a massive ice cream) AND drank. Beer, of all things. I did chug water throughout, though, and maybe the universe is being forgiving today because I made that tiny effort? I’m the perfect example of that person who eats like a saint all week and then throws it out the window come Saturday.

This week will bring its own challenges. I love Halloween, and I’m neither concussed nor couch-bound with an ankle injury this year, so I’m hoping to do something. I’ll have an office party this week, as well as my cousin’s concert on Halloween, and then hopefully a get-together on the weekend as well. I won’t be home to hand out Halloween candy, which is a shame, but I’m sure I’ll see all of the adorable dogs kids in their costumes throughout the week. I must embrace being the girl who eats and drinks in moderation despite the company I keep, which is worth doing if it prevents a repeat of last week.

I hope all of you Halloween fans get to do just the right amount of something festive, whatever that may be. I highly doubt that I’m alone in feeling a bit of anxiety that always comes right after Halloween. For me, it’s the turning point into a season that hasn’t been the best for my mental health. When the costumes are put away and the candy gone, and society speeds right into family-centered holiday season mode, I can’t help but feel the pressure to be better this year than every year past. Be happier, more excited, things like that.

In admitting this, I’m hoping that anyone reading who relates knows that they are so not alone. What’s probably not going to make you feel better is comparing your holiday season to everyone else’s on social media, so don’t be afraid to take a break from looking at other people’s lives. You don’t need to enter the competition of best picture at an ice rink/cutest “cozy post”/lengthiest post about gratitude coupled with a very flattering picture of yourself if it doesn’t bring you joy. Find the balance of doing for yourself and doing for others that gets you through, and don’t beat yourself up for negative thoughts. My way of letting them out is through writing (in my personal journal of evil thoughts, not here) so I’d definitely recommend that route. But find your own if writing isn’t for you! (No, I don’t have any suggestions, because writing is #1.)

Well wishes to everyone’s brains and bodies. We will be okay. ❤

big ankle keeps on turning…

I remember when I seriously thought I wouldn’t let myself go a month without posting. Okay. Does it make it any better if I promise there hasn’t been much to mention? I’ve only had two visits to urgent care this month – woohoo! Other than that I’ve been either at work or at home, asleep. Or at the gym. I keep remembering how fit I was this time last year (for the pageant #tbt) and it occurred to me that I could actually pursue being in shape without the pressure of having to walk onstage in a bikini.

Alright, health. The first urgent care trip was right at the start of the month. Remember that ankle injury I keep casually mentioning? Well, I attempted a night out in the city without wearing my ankle brace and turned my ankle YET AGAIN. This particular turn was so glorious, so passionate, that it immediately swelled to twice its size and was impossible to walk on. The friend I went out with shipped me to my boyfriend’s workplace (I may have been running to McDonalds at 1am when it happened), and he shipped me home. The two of us went to urgent care the next day, where I was put in an air cast and told that I need to see an orthopedist because I probably/definitely have nerve damage. Well, joke’s on you because my insurance doesn’t cover specialists within a 2.5 hour radius of where I live! I’ll just wear my ankle sleeve forever.

We may or may not have gone for pints directly after that doctor’s visit.

The second visit was this past Monday. I worked all evening on Sunday with no problems, but when I arrived at the restaurant where Sean (he does have a name) and I were supposed to get drinks and have a mini-holiday celebration with some of his crew, I was hit out of the blue with extreme fatigue and dizziness. I’m somewhat permanently a little bit lightheaded since my blood pressure is irregular, but this was different. This reminded me of the stroke incident back in February. I wasn’t panicked – I just decided that I wouldn’t drink anything besides water while we were out.

About three small glasses of water into the night, the nausea kicked in. I went outside for some fresh air and over the course of the five minutes I was out there, it became harder and harder to stand on my own. My entire left side was weak and I was having a bizarre amount of difficulty speaking coherently. Still, no panic. We went back inside and I forced myself to eat a small, inoffensive piece of potato to see if some food would bring me back to Earth.

Thaaat was all it took for me to run back outside and projectile vomit all over everything. It was likely the most nonchalant vomiting session of all time, as the few scattered people outside genuinely did not notice. One of Sean’s friends, who knew I wasn’t feeling well but didn’t know the details, came out to say goodbye as we obviously had to leave at this point. He went in for a hug…and I had to reject it. Mind you, this is someone I had only met once before, and only very briefly. Just “ahh, no, nope, don’t touch me, sorry.” Amazing.

We sat up for a while at home working on some crackers and water while I clung to a hot water bottle, and headed to urgent care the next morning. The rundown of that appointment was that I don’t have the flu and I’m not pregnant, so…I’m good. Thanks? However, Sean did get himself checked out while I was there, which I’ve been asking him to do for a long time. He also does not have the flu, nor is he with child.

…we went for a pint again after that visit, as well. This is becoming a strange and delightful routine.

~

On another note, my rheumatologist let me know that my lab results from November were normal, except for a serious vitamin D deficiency. It’s a relief to officially rule out some of the potentials that have been hanging over all of this for years, like lupus. I’m plowing on by reopening the kidney investigation next month with a nephrologist my dad trusts and likes a lot, so I’m excited to see what he makes of everything. I do have a new idea of what could be going on with ol’ left kidney, based on my own research. I’m not ready to talk about that here, now, but I will absolutely bring it up with the nephrologist in January.

Y’know, I had this hope that I’d dive right into a new job in January, but I have these two separate, important appointments back home that will require a lot of traveling. Unless I just stay home. Truthfully, I’d love to do that. My Christmas present to my dad is manual labor in & around my mom’s old house – whatever needs taking care of. This will probably include taming the backyard, scrubbing the floors and walls, and boxing up old things. Let me tell ya, that house hasn’t been deeply cleaned top to bottom in a long, long time. Maybe it’s worth sacrificing a month of job progress to be home, battling dirt and nicotine stains, feral cats and wild shrubbery. I can still research and apply for jobs as long as I have my laptop, so there’s that. Plus I’ll have my piano handy. I’ll have friends and family (and doctors!) nearby.

Hmm. I think we have a January plan. Now let’s see if I get my life together enough to write again before December ends. Every year I make a list similar to a list of resolutions, but it’s more about things I want to accomplish rather than things I want to give up or tweak about myself. Granted, some of those things are always included, but I just can’t bring myself to think of it as my “2019 resolutions.” Why am I like this? Still, I think that will be the next post. Wow, a plan!

🙂